Reducing plastic usage
CLEAR encourages communities to embrace the six Rs as the guiding principles for reducing waste output: Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair. To address the severe problem of littering by sachets made of single-use plastic, CLEAR is piloting refill stores at the village recycling centres (waste banks) to tackle sachet culture.
The problem with sachets
Like most low-income communities with insecure incomes that have been penetrated by modern commercial networks, families manage scarce resources by making small purchases to satisfy their immediate needs. Every-day domestic goods like soap powder; liquid detergent; fabric softener; laundry perfume and cooking oil are sold in plastic sachets that are hard to dispose of effectively where there’s no municipal waste collection service. They commonly end up being blown from rubbish heaps, littering villages and rivers before making their way to the sea.
The solution – community refill stores
A small loan of 250,000 Rupiah (about £12.50) allows the Waste Bank Committees to purchase domestic items in bulk. These are then resold to members who bring their own receptacles. Unit costs for the members are similar or even cheaper and the need of polluting plastic sachets is eliminated. Initial indications are that a Waste Bank serving 40 households can have a monthly turnover of IDR440,000 reducing the use of sachets by 340.
Spreading best practice
Following the initial success of the pilot scheme, advice on setting up refill stores is being refined and included in the Waste Bank mentoring programme.